Despite deadly COVID-19 outbreak, face masks to remain optional at Manatee County Administration Building

Face masks will be optional for the public and employees inside the Manatee County Administration Building when it reopens on Monday. The facility closed Friday so the entire building could be disinfected following a deadly COVID-19 outbreak

According to the county, "a number" of coronavirus cases were detected among county employees this week and two people died. However, County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes said only unvaccinated people were impacted.

In a message to employees on Saturday, Hopes said, "Individual employees in the IT Department who were known to be fully vaccinated and who were in close proximity of those who were infected did not contract COVID-19." 

He added, "I am reaffirming the Board of County Commissioners’ decision and recommendations made at the May 11, 2021 commission meeting." 

During the May 11 county commission meeting, the board repealed COVID safety requirements and made strong recommendations that individuals who visit the Administration building or other public facilities should use their best judgment to protect themselves from the spread of germs.

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"Visitors and employees who are fully vaccinated may return to work as usual," Dr. Hopes stated. "Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged but not required, to follow COVID-19 prevention measures, including use of N95 or equivalent masks, which will be available at each entrance, and social distancing."

Hopes says visitors and employees who are not fully vaccinated should practice COVID-19 prevention measures. 

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The county says it will continue to provide N95 or equivalent masks for unvaccinated visitors and employees who want to use them when in county buildings.

Manatee County will offer another COVID-19 vaccine clinic for employees in the County Administration Building on Friday, June 25 at 10 a.m.

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